The review of ICS by the UK National Audit Office was to inform DFID’s consideration of the programme’s future. By combining key findings on the current programme with findings from wider work, the National Audit Office identified design, procurement and implementation considerations on which DFID should focus if it develops a new programme for ICS. This review examined the programme’s cost, how it is delivered, and how it has performed against its objectives. The review is clear that it did not seek to make an overall judgement about the value for money of ICS.
The review concludes the programme looks to benefit not only volunteers but also the UK and some of the world’s poorest countries. It notes the programme has had some successes – it is over subscribed and it is meeting two of its three objectives. But DFID has also missed some of the programme’s targets for diversity and has not consistently demonstrated development impact – its third objective for the programme. This means that the Department has expanded ICS without clear evidence of development impact. Since its expansion, more evidence of development impact is starting to become available, which the Department should consider carefully in its future decision-making.